Taekwondo action

The 2014 Island Open, hosted by the Parksville Taekwondo Academy, is set to take place May 3 in the Parksville Curling Club.

This marks the third year that the Island Open will be held at the Parksville Curling Club, the fifth year of its existence. The event will run all day and will feature a wide range of talent from five year-olds to 60 year-olds.

“We’re really excited to be hosting the event again. We’ve re-branded it now to the point where it’s literally an open event, which means that anyone can sign up,” master Brett Fee said.

“It’s going to be a great event and we’ll have a lot of great taekwondo action for everyone to check out and enjoy.”

The Island Open, which will be contested under World Taekwondo Federation rules, will have three events; poomsae, chanbara and Olympic sparring.

With the amount of competitors varying in age, belt rank and weight class, there will be plenty of action starting at 9:30 a.m. on May 3.

“It’s nice because we’ve got a different lineup compared to most tournaments that take place in taekwondo,” Fee said.

“Usually what happens is there will be an event that takes place first thing in the morning, then someone will have to sit around and wait to have their second or third fight later that afternoon or evening. It’s a good setup and really helps things flow well.”

Poomsae, which judges competitors on their forms, will be open to all ages and belt levels. The Olympic sparring portion of the event will see action similar to that of what’s seen during the Summer Olympics.

A point system will be in place to determine the winners and will feature home-grown referees from the Island that will oversee all the action at the Island Open.

The chanbara event, which the Parksville Taekwondo School is one of only two in Canada to offer a program in, sees participants sparring with padded weapons. Like the Olympic sparring, chanbara allows them to spar, but with the padded weapons.

“Chanbara is something that’s huge over in Asia and Europe, so we’re really excited to be one of the two schools in Canada to offer it as a program to our students,” Fee said.

“It’s a different form of competition and it allows students to have a different experience with the padded weapons. It’s a lot of fun to take part in and will be great to watch.”

There will be schools from all over Vancouver Island taking part in the Island Open. According to Fee, there are schools that he hasn’t even heard of that are coming out of the woodwork to take part in this event.

“Being a member of the B.C. Taekwondo board, I pretty much know who everyone is and what events they’re going to,” Fee said.

“We’ve got a school out of Comox and I’ve never even heard of them before. They’ll be having 20 students from their club alone so it’s pretty nice to see the numbers that we’re getting.”

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